Last Saturday’s third edition of the Desert Bush Walk: Winter 2017 in the town of Jwaneng was a resounding success.
Drawing multitudes from all corners of the country and outside, many took to social media to share their trials and tribulations about the walk. The fourth edition of the walk is slated for July 28th, 2018.
And from what they are all saying, the walk is not to be taken lightly. Although there are some who might dismiss 10KM and 30KM as easy pickings, the walk tested all the mental faculties of all those who attempted to cross the finish line. For those who managed to make it all the way through, it was all smiles as it meant that they had done all in their power to finish their selected kilometres in one piece. And for those who huffed and puffed all the way to the last, this was something that had to be done. The walk was not in vain. They were doing it for charity after all. And for the unfortunate dozen who failed to make it through, they still get points for trying to push their bodies through a gruelling walk that took them through a rough terrain. Even the talkative lot were left speechless, and some almost regretted the option of leaving their cozy homes only for them to put themselves through such torment. The Botswana Guardian & The Midweek Sun teams were amongst some of these honourable walkers. Sharing their experiences and exchanging notes over lunch on Monday afternoon, most of them admitted that this was no child’s play.
“I tried to go out on Saturday evening, but failed to finish my drink,” says one walker who admitted defeat and went home to nurse his sore muscles. Speaking in an interview with one of the organisers on Tuesday morning, Archibald Ngakayagae excitedly reveals that they were impressed with the turnout. The walk had registered close to 2000 walkers (1500 for 30KM and 500 for 10KM). He explains that they were yet to tally their statistics and see how many people turned up on Saturday morning. “It went very well. Walkers came from all over,” he says still excited from their weekend success. He explains that the walk drew support from walkers from as far as Lesotho and South Africa. One of the good things from the walk, he says is the fact that they have forged relationships with organisers of other walks from both Lesotho and South Africa. These walks include the Moshoeshoe walk, Ditsamayanaga (North West) as well as the Moruleng Heritage walk.
And through these partnerships, the Desert Bush Walk will use these platforms to advertise the local walk. He also notes that they had to dip into the money raised from tickets sales in order to cover some of the logistical costs after failing to raise the target amount from sponsors.
They had budgeted for an estimated P350 000 which was to cover costs such as refreshments and t-shirts. “We are still reconciling our books,” he says. He also called on local authorities to come on board and lend a helping hand through resources.
This week, he says, they will have a meeting with the local organising committee, which will be followed by a Board meeting. They are also planning to sit down with the relevant authority at the Ministry of Education where they will get an idea of priority projects that need support and will also assess proposals from other organisations within the region. His last words were directed to individuals who passionately support this noble cause and volunteers.
“We are where we are today because of these individuals,” he says. The Bush Walk was established in 2014 by two activists - Ngakayagae and Amy Benson - who partnered with a team of volunteers. The funds raised during the inaugural event went towards the construction of a Creative Learning Centre to house a Carpentry Workshop and a Library for Sese Primary School. Proceeds from the second event went towards donating P150 000 worth of equipment to the Mabutsane-Jwaneng sub-district to benefit 19 schools in the area as well as P10 000 to New Xanagas Primary School.
Sponsors for the event include companies such as Liberty Life, Botho University, Stanbic Bank, BTC, Botswana Savings Bank, Web tickets, Davebuoy Wors, Cresta Jwaneng, Pick n Pay (Jwaneng), Patmo Transport, MRI, Majwe Mining, AFDA, Sunday Standard, Botswana Guardian, Duma FM, Choppies, Botswana Post, Shell (Jwaneng), Engen (Lobatse), Mokala Lodge and BAMB.